Four cities will be competing for the next two MLS expansion slots that are scheduled to be announced before the end of the year.
MLS announced on Wednesday that the following four expansion bids (listed in alphabetical order) will make formal presentations to MLS Commissioner Don Garber and the league's Expansion Committee on Dec. 6 in New York:
- Carl H. Lindner III – Co-CEO of American Financial Group and Owner, Chairman and CEO of FC Cincinnati
- Scott Farmer - CEO of Cintas Corporation
- Dan Gilbert – Owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Founder and Chairman of Quicken Loans, Inc.
- Tom Gores – Owner of the Detroit Pistons and Founder, Chairman and CEO of Platinum Equity
- John Ingram – Chairman of Ingram Industries Inc. and CEO Nashville Soccer Holdings
- Wilf Family – owners of the Minnesota Vikings
- Turner Family – Managing Partners of MarketStreet Enterprises
- Kevin Nagle – Managing Partner of Sac Soccer & Entertainment Holdings and Minority Owner of the Sacramento Kings
- Jed York – CEO of the San Francisco Forty-Niners
- Mark Friedman – President of Fulcrum Property Group and Minority Owner of the Sacramento Kings, and other limited partners.
Following the presentations on Dec. 6, a meeting of MLS’s Board of Governors on Dec. 14 in New York City will have additional discussions on expansion with ownership representatives from every MLS club.
"The leaders of the Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento MLS expansion ownership groups have bold visions and innovative plans for their clubs, stadiums and their involvement in their respective communities," Commissioner Garber said in a league statement. "We are pleased these highly-respected business and sports leaders have been so determined to bring Major League Soccer to their cities. We have been greatly encouraged by the progress that all four of these groups have made and we are looking forward to their presentations."
The four ownership groups above were among 12 markets that submitted formal bids in January for a total of four expansion slots as part of the league's expansion to 28 teams. Los Angeles Football Club, which kicks off in 2018, will be the league's 23rd club, while expansion discussions continue in Miami.
The league made it clear that while only Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento are being considered for the next two expansion teams, all remaining markets are under consideration for the following two expansion clubs that will be announced at a later date. Those include Charlotte, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Diego and Tampa/St. Petersburg.